Only 10 local recruits have joined the terrorist ranks this year, said the Jammu and Kashmir Police today, adding that six of them have already been killed, while four others have the option to surrender or get killed.
This is the lowest ever number of locals joining militancy in Jammu and Kashmir since 1990 when Pakistan-backed militancy erupted in the region.
Last year, 110 Kashmiri youth joined terrorist groups. Most of them were killed by security forces during encounters.
“I’m so happy that youth of Kashmir has understood tricks and conspiracies of the enemy. From 110 youth who joined militancy last year, only 10 have joined militancy this year,” said Dilbag Singh, Director General of J&K police.
Mr Singh said out of 10 local terrorists, six have already been killed.
“I wish even these 10 had not gone to the other side. It would been so nice and we would have told the world that all the youth of J&K are on the side of peace,” said Mr Singh.
The police chief said that four other local men moving around with weapons may also be killed in coming days.
Mr Singh asked the four suspected terrorists to surrender, adding the doors of “ghar wapsi” are open for them.
The dramatic drop in recruitment of local men in terrorist ranks is the biggest achievement after three decades of fight against militancy in Jammu and Kashmir.
The last best security scenario Kashmir had witnessed was in 2013 when total number of terrorists had come down to a few dozen and casualties of civilians and security forces was at an all-time low.
But things changed after 2014 and recruitment of locals joining terrorist ranks was increasing by every year.
After Article 370 was scrapped in 2019, a massive crackdown was launched against separatists and their support structure.
While it demolished separatist structure, recruitment of locals as terrorists remained a challenge.
In 2019, 119 locals joined terrorism in Kashmir. In 2020 the number jumped to 167. It was 128 in 2021 and 110 in 2022.
Since 2019, number of security forces deployed in Jammu and Kashmir has surpassed all the previous records. It has ensured end of stone throwing and pro-separatist protests and shutdowns in the Valley.
Amid stringent security measures within the Valley, killing of several terrorist commanders in targeted attacks inside Pakistan appears to have delivered a huge blow to terrorist organizations and their capacity to recruit and arm local youth in the Valley.